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17 Cleaning Tricks for Hard-to-Clean Household Objects

These easy tricks eliminate and prevent messes in the most inconvenient, hard-to-clean places, from the inside of your toaster to your purse lining.

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collection of cleaning suppliesCarol Yepes/Getty Images

Overlooked and under-cleaned

The things you spend the most time cleaning in your house are likely the big things. Countertops, floors, major appliances—they’re, well, big, and usually pretty easy to clean; plus it’s more obvious when they’re dirty. But the nooks and crannies in your home, places that accumulate dirt and germs, provide something of a puzzle—there’s no obvious way to keep them clean. Luckily, we’ve got a few tips for cleaning your blinds, coffee grinder, ceiling fans, and other head-scratching spots.

Woman holding handbag in front of office buildingWestend61/Getty Images

The inside of your purse

Push a lint roller along the bottom of an empty purse to pick up dirt, loose change, and more. If you unearth some grimy earrings, here’s how to clean jewelry using household items!

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white candle with flame and melting wax, dark backgroundfermate/Getty Images

Sticky candles

Place a grimy candle inside a stocking and roll it around. The nonabrasive nylon will clean the wax surface without sticking to it. There are so many uses for old socks and stockings, and these 80+ tricks will knock your socks off.

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Laptop And Plants On Table At HomePassakorn Leelawat/EyeEm/Getty Images

Grungy window blinds

Dip a sock into a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water. Put it on your hand inside out and use it to clean both sides of window blinds at the same time. Make sure you know these 16 genius cleaning hacks housecleaners use.

Blank Television Over Cabinet At HomeSupakit Kitsanapitak/EyeEm/Getty Images

Dingy TV screens

Swipe a coffee filter across dusty and staticky computer monitors and plasma TV screens to remove buildup. It turns out there are all sorts of brilliant uses for coffee filters that don’t involve coffee.

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Water tap with sink in modern kitchen.Torsak Thammachote/Shutterstock

A stinky kitchen

Toss orange and lemon peels into the garbage disposal and grind it up for a few minutes to give your kitchen an amazing fresh citrus smell with no work at all. Find out more tricks for cleaning your kitchen in five minutes flat.

Old-Sponges-Are-Gross-But-Heres-Why-You-Shouldnt-Throw-Them-Out-152923700-correct-picturescorrect pictures/Shutterstock

Kitchen sink clutter

Clamp a binder clip onto the short end of your sponge. Stand the clip upright on its side to keep the sponge clean, dry, and mold-free. Once it does get dirty, learn these tips for how to clean a kitchen sponge.

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The dog is lying on the carpetMiroslava Levina/Shutterstock

Pet hair horrors

Drag a window squeegee (you can find one at any home goods store) across a carpet to remove pet hair. The rubberized blade will quickly lift fur from rug fibers. Check out these other pet hair removers that really work.

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wooden closet with clothes hanging on rail, wardrobe interior designAll About Space/Shutterstock

Dusty clothes

Cut a hole in the center of a cloth napkin and place it over a hanger to keep dust from settling on nice dresses and leather jackets. Then learn how to fix common closet organizing mistakes.

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Toilet Flushing Water close upTortoon/Shutterstock

That ring around your toilet

Let an Alka-Seltzer tablet sit in the bowl for 20 minutes, and then flush. The citric acid will eliminate rings and stains.

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Different types of glasses for wine on wooden table. Still life concept.Alexandr Karpovich/Shutterstock

Prevent glasses from breaking in the dishwasher

Stretch a rubber band around a wineglass and over the spokes of the dishwasher rack to keep the glass from moving around and breaking during the wash cycle. Here are some more common dishwasher loading mistakes.

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Woman watering flowers on balconyWestend61/Getty Images

Fill buckets or watering can without making a mess

If you have a bucket or a large watering container that won’t fit under the faucet, place a dustpan with a hollow handle beneath the stream of water to redirect it into the larger vessel on the floor in front of the sink.

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kitchen cleaning tips coffee grinderca2hill/iStock

A soiled coffee grinder

If you use this tool to crush spices as well as coffee beans, process a handful of Cheerios in the appliance for 30 seconds. This will remove any smells from the machine before you brew your next cup.

folded clothes drawer best april fools pranks for parentsAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

Messy drawers

Try vertical stacking: Place folded shirts vertically into drawers to make it easy to see and reach what you need. For more organizing tips, learn the things in your home that a professional organizer would toss.

Ceiling fan, indoorsAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

Ceiling fans

Want to clean the blades of your ceiling fan without raining dust down on your furniture? Take a pillowcase and slide it over each blade. Press down and slide the pillowcase back off; it’ll take all the dust with it. Don’t miss these other 13 housecleaning tricks you’ll wish you knew sooner.

Two slices of toast in toasterImage Source/Getty Images

Pop-up toaster

Use a cleaning toothbrush to scrub down the coils of your pop-up toaster with clean water. Make sure it’s unplugged first, of course! Take out the crumb tray and stick a paper towel underneath the toaster so that crumbs don’t get out of control.

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Memory foam mattressIvelin/Shutterstock

Smelly mattress

Make sure you’re vacuuming your mattress every time you rotate it. But did you know that baking soda can banish sweaty mattress odors? Put some baking soda in a sifter and shake it over the mattress. Let it sit for a half an hour and then break out the dustbuster to vacuum it up. To make it smell extra-good, mix in a drop or two of essential oil with the baking soda before you sift. And learn more brilliant ways to clean and fix things with baking soda.

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shower curtain_funny 911 callsSamuel Plainfield/Shutterstock

Shower curtain liners (or plastic shower curtains)

Throwing your plastic curtain liner in the wash is all well and good, but that won’t banish mildew for good. TipHero recommends adding a cup of vinegar to the washing machine, and only using half the recommended amount of detergent. After that, throw the liner into the tub itself, fill the tub with enough water to cover the liner, and add a cup of salt. Soak it for three hours. The salt helps the liner build up a layer of resistance against mildew. Learn how to clean your bathroom in less than five minutes.


  • TipHero: “You’ll Wash Your Shower Curtain With Salt From Now On”

Meghan Jones
Meghan Jones is a word nerd who has been writing for since 2017. You can find her byline on pieces about grammar, fun facts, the meanings of various head-scratching words and phrases, and more. Meghan graduated from Marist College with a Bachelor of Arts in English in 2017; her creative nonfiction piece “Anticipation” was published in the Spring 2017 issue of Angles literary magazine.